Friday, April 28, 2017

AC/DC - High Voltage

Release internationally as a compilation of the groups's first two Australian records - High Voltage and TNT - during the height of the punk movement, the guys were momentarily lumped into that genre before showing themselves to be the hard rock heroes that they have become.

While maintaining a lot of the boys' standard rock'n'roll tricks, "It's a Long Way To the Top (If You Wanna Rock'n'Roll)" adds nuance like plenty of harmonies and, incongruously, bagpipes! (Apparently, producer George found out that Bon had been in a pipe band in his youth, not realizing that he played drums! He learned though!). "Rock'n'Roll Singer" is a more stripped-down jam, they do some hard-rock blues in their sing-along paeon to VD, "The Jack", more chuggin' rock in "Live Wire", another chant-along with "TNT" ("Oi! Oi! Oi!") that culminates in a chromatic climbs and an explosion of guitar noise, a comparatively complex rocker (riffs galore!) in "Can I Sit Next To You Girl", they slow things down for the chunky "Little Lover", stomp on through "She's Got Balls" (not to be confused with "Big Balls", or any of their other "ball" songs!), and then wind things up with the big chords of the rockin', classic title track.

This is not thinkin' man's rock, but for a dumb good rockin' time, this is about as good as it gets!

AC/DC - Let There Be Rock

As I sit around on one of the slowest days I've had in about six months, I noticed that I never talked about the AC/DC CD reissues that I got years ago. Surprising, as I picked these up here in Las Vegas, but maybe it was before I started this blog. Ah, well...

Let There Be Rock was the band's 3rd internationally released LP (4th in Australia) after Atlantic Records in the US rejected Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. The group returned to the studio with producers George Young (another brother) and Harry Vanda (both from the legendary Easybeats) and bashed this out in two weeks in the (successful) attempt to make a loud, heavy, basically live-in-the-studio, guitar album. In a literally explosive performance, Angus blew up his amp during an overdub on the title track and kept playing!

Every 70's hard rock band had to have at least one song about groupies and AC/DC had several, including their ode to Ruby Lips, "Go Down". With single-entendre lyrics from Bon, the band churns out their simple'n'clever, head-bangin', dynamic, boogie rock for a great, sing-along opener. More blues-based heavy rock in "Dog Eat Dog" before Bon updates the Bible in the frantically quiet'n'loud title track, where Angus does smoke out some fiery leads! More head-bangin' in the appropriately titled "Bad Boy Boogie" and "Problem Child" before they move into the slightly slower, but no less rockin', tale of love gone wrong in "Overdoes", using drugs as an analogy for a bad relationship. Helping to cement their "evil" image is "Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be" before closing with one of their best and most infamous numbers, another groupie tune, this one about a rather hefty lady, "Whole Lotta Rosie". Super simple but infectious as hell, as is much of their material, this one reigns high in their repertoire and is still a show-stopper to this day.

I think most people know what this band sounds like - they really haven't changed much since they started 40 or so years ago - and if ya dig that sound, this is up there as one of the stars of their career!

(Oh, and the CD reissue, while not having any bonus tracks, does have a great booklet with tons of info'n'photos.)

Junior Brown - 12 Shades of Brown

I'm trying to correct my dereliction of duties and fill out my Junior Brown collection, so I picked up this 1993 release at the same time I got Semi Crazy. It may take me a while, but I'll grab whatever I can find from this man!

Here he opens with his homage to one of his biggest influences in "My Baby Don't Dance To Nothing But Ernest Tubb", where his singin'n'playin' would easily fit in with Ernest's song list. There's more traditional country sounds in "Baby Let the Bad Times Be" and in the frantic-paced rockabilly of "Freeborn Man", where his playing is lightnin' fast and crazy good and Erik Hokkanen plays some stunnin' fiddle (as he does on a number of songs here). Junior gives a surprisingly serious ballad concerning the plight of the homeless in "They Don't Choose To Live That Way" but is back to more usual fare in the mid-tempo country-lick-filled "Too Many Nights in a Roadhouse". He gets a little silly in "Hillbilly Hula Gal" but I can't deny that his steel playing fits the theme of the tune!

There's a steel-driven ballad in "A Way to Survive", some excellent git playin' in the humorous "Broke Down South of Dallas", a bit of yodelin'n'fiddlin' in the traditional country of "What's Left Just Won't Go Right" and "Moan All Night Long", another Hawaiian-themed steel number with "Coconut Island" and a serious, plaintive ballad about the trials of farmers in "Don't Sell the Farm".

Once again joined by his wife, Tanya Rae, other musicians here include Donny Dolan and Tom Lewis on "snare drum", Michael Ballew on acoustic guitar and Spencer Starnes and Steve Layne on upright bass, this is another solid piece of work from the fella with the git-steel!

Junior Brown - Semi Crazy

It's just within the last few years I've come to appreciate country music and even more recently since I've discovered Junior Brown. He is absolutely one of the - if not the - best guitarists currently playing although since he is in the country field - and he plays real country music, not the modern country-pop/pap - the material can be a bit corny for my tastes. But, when he plays it straight and for real, there is none better these days.

All that is not to say that there can't be humor in the songs, but he can go overboard at times. On this 1996 record, where he is joined by his wife Tanya Rae on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, along with Steve Layne on bass/vocals and Tommy Lewis on drums, he opens with the geunionely funny "Gotta Get Up Every Morning" ("to say goodnight to you"), where he sings in his Ernest Tubb-inspired voice and plays some exceptional riffs. "Darlin' I'll Do Anything You Say" has some terrific steel licks in it (he alternates between "regular" guitar and steel on his custom git-steel), although the song isn't one of his best. He raves it up in the fast-paced, rockabilly number "I Hung It Up", where he spits out fiery leads that blur the line between country, blues, and Hendrix-y rock'n'roll, but then he slows it down for the ballad, "I Want To Hear It From You", which is nicely done, as ballads go, and the steel adds the proper melancholy touches.

Junior has previously covered Red Simpson's "Highway Patrol" and here Red, whose themes were usually based on long haul drivers, joins Brown on the appropriately road-worthy title cut, "Semi Crazy", which is a genuinely clever double entendre. I like his interpretation of Hoagie Carmichael's "Hong Kong Blues", although it is a bit of a departure for him, but he is back to his ol' tricks in his own "Venom Wearin' Denim" (gotta love the line "if you give her a diamond you'll get a diamondback"). I expected "Parole Board" to be a goof, but it is a serious ballad that tugs at your heart strings as he plucks at his steel guitar strings. "Joe the Singing Janitor" has some of his goofiest lyrics yet, although his playing continues to impress, as it does in the finale "Surf Medley, where he combines "Pipeline", "Walk Don't Run", and "Secret Agent Man" with some of his own touches to walk the line between completely traditional and original.

Junior is a major, major talent and while all of his records are not completely consistent, this one if pretty damn fine from start to finish.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

recommended gigs

Thursday April 27 - Goldtop Bob at the San Dollar

Friday April 28 - Le DomiNiki at the Dillinger with Matthew Whaley

Saturday April 29 - The Swamp Gospel and the return of the Gentlemen of Four Outs at the Golden Tiki

Thursday May 4 - 3d6, Water Landing, Dr Phobic, Forget Me Nows at Backstage Bar and Billiards

Saturday May 20 - the Swamp Gospel with the Psyatics and Sin Eaters at the Double Down

Thursday May 25 - Shoen Knife at the Beauty Bar

Friday May 26 - Television and the Weirdos at the Bunkhouse!

Monday June 12 - Heroine, Shawn James, the Psyatics at the Beauty Bar

Sunday June 18 - Guitar Wolf at the Beauty Bar

Friday June 23 - the Peculiar Pretzelmen and the Gentlemen of Four Outs - venue TBA

Saturday July 8 - Blondie and Garbage at the Palms

Wednesday August 2 - the Delta Bombers at the Beauty Bar

Thursday Aug 3 - David Allen Coe at the Dive Bar

Thursday Sept 7 - Sept 10 - Big Blues Bender at the Plaza

What have I forgotten? Lemme know

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Eli Paperboy Reed and the True Loves - Roll With You


Joining the likes of Sharon Jones and Black Joe Lewis in a 60's soul revival is Massachusetts native (who spent time in Clarksville, Mississippi to study the music of the region that he loved, as well as Chicago to do the same) Eli "Paperboy" Reed. I am late to the game on this young man, as he has been recording since the mid-2000's and this record was released in 2008. His sound has been compared to Stax artists like Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett and he occasionally also moves into grovvin' funk ala James Brown.

With fast-paced, snappin' snare and blarin' horns,  "Stake Your Claim" starts things off with a cool, soulful groove backing for Reed's Stax-influenced vocals and hip guitar riffs. They slow things down a bit for the Sam Cooke-styled "Am I Wasting My Time" and the Otis Redding-like "It's Easier". The band kicks things into a James Brown funk with the boastful "The Satisfier" and an early-60's dance feel in "Take My Love With You".  There's hints of "What a Wonderful World It Would Be" in the ballad-y title cut, "I'll Roll With You", and sweet guitar/horn inter play in the passionate "She Walks". More references in "I'm Gonna Getcha Back", this time Otis' "Hard to Handle", and innumerable up-tempo blues in "Won't Give Up Without a Fight". "(Am I Just) Fooling Myself" is another Redding-esque ballad and then he closes things out with a great, frantic, James Brown dance number, (Doin' the) Boom Boom".

This is a great record and I will definitely be checking out more from Reed, although I wish he didn't rely so heavily on ballads. He does them well, but goes a little overboard with them. In any case, still highly recommended.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Best of the Chicago Blues

I don't know if it has something to do with the fact that I grew up nearby, but Chicago-styled blues are the blues that speak to me the most. When Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf transplanted to the city, they changed the sound of modern music forever, with influences still reverberating to this day. This CD has slightly lesser known names than those giants, but still some spectacular talent - Jimmy Cotton, Otis Span, Buddy Guy (legendary for his remarkable guitar work with the masters as well as his long solo career), JB Hutto, Johnny Young, Homesick James, harmonica kings Junior Wells and Big Walter Horton  - all giving some truly electrifying performances.

Chicago blues is usually highlighted by stellar electric guitar work and amplified harmonica, along with a a swing not found elsewhere, but of course, Otis Spann's fantastic piano also helped to define the sound - and with good reason! This CD is packed with incredible talent and if you're not already familiar with these names, you should be! Another fine comp.

I'm Pretty Good At It - Country Blues Guitar 1937 - 1953

Document Records is a treasure trove of old time acoustic, country blues and has released a large number of high-quality (at least considering the time that the music was recorded) CDs from numerous acoustic blues artists that you likely would never have heard of otherwise. I just happened upon this one and picked it up simply because it was Document Records. I love this early blues work these days and while I was not familiar with the artists - Papa Charley Hill, Roosevelt Antrim, Sonny Jones, Dan Pickett (whose bizarre "Laughing Rag" is one of the stranger selections Document has released), and Doug Quattlebaum - their Blind Boy Fuller/ Tampa Red-styled work in highly accessable and enjoyable. Sonny Jones, in fact was recorded at a session along with Fuller and Sonny Terry, who plays harmonica on the title track.

If you're a fan of Fuller and Tampa Red - and you should be - this is well worth picking up. Another fine release from Document!

Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band - LIve Somewhere Over Vancouver

Over the years I have gained a great appreciation for the fine Captain and have become pretty infatuated with his work. I know that there are some live releases around, but this is the first that I had come across so I picked it up, looking forward to hearing the band in action in 1973. Unfortunately, despite a great set list - "Low Yo Stuff", "Abba Zabba", "Nowadays a Woman's Gotta Hit a Man", "I'm Gonna Booglarize You Baby", "Mirror Man" and more - the sound (obviously from a cheap machine placed in the audience) is so atrocious that it's sometimes difficult to even tell what sound they are playing. In a way, this adds to the surrealism on Beefheart's work, but I was hoping for a legit recording. Hopefully, something exists and I will be searching for it, but in the meantime, this is for extreme fans only - and only if you mind hissy, muddy noise throughout. Disappointing...

Friday, April 21, 2017

Water Landing - Turbulence

Water Landing is an eclectic Vegas combo made up of Eric and Jules Phillips (guitar/vox and keys/vox, respectively) along with their rhythm section of bassist Daniel Woodward and drummer Ron Hudy. I never know how to categorize this group, as they mix elements of rock, punk, new wave and lots more into their own brand of often goofy music.

On this EP, their latest release, they tackle four new originals and a surprising cover that I've yet to hear them do live. Opening with plenty of distorted, wah-wah-ed guitar work from Eric, Jules then takes lead vocals in the rockin' "Little Man", one of the heavier numbers they have ever done. Eric sings lead on the rest of the batch and his voice adds to the new wave feel in the Devo-esque "Lies" and the slightly off-kilter, somewhat metal-y (I kept trying to think of what it reminded me of and it turns out to be Girlschool!) riffer "Talk Back". The fast-paced, punky "Confession" follows and they close with a pretty right-on take of the White Stripes "Seven Nation Army".

Fun band and nice people - check 'em out when ya can!

The Terrorsaurs - One Night Only

I caught the Terrorsaurs last week with local surf icons Thee Swank Bastards and had a blast watching their brand of instro madness with goofy masks and hot-cha burlesque dancer. "Swamp Guitarist" El Demonio traveled the entire club while bassist/shouter Crawlin' King Fink and "Jungle Drummer" Big Joe Espionage keep the beat pulsin''n'throbbin'. Tried to pick up a shirt but they were already sold out, so I made due with this CD on Wild Records (also the home of Vegas' Delta Bombers).

As with most bands, the live show - especially the Terrorsaurs' style of live show - is much more fun than any recording can reproduce, but this disc is packed with surfy instrumental tunes (with occasional shouts here'n'there) with titles like "Pigstickin'", "Demonio''s Curve", "Bat Snatch" and "Devil's Dyke". Some are pretty simplistic, but then numbers like "Dambala!" and "A Girl For Yeti" have some nice variety'n'changes in rhythm'n'dynamics'n'intricacies and the slow'n'sultry "Rat Burger" was a great showcase for their dancer.

Definitely a combo to see live but this is well worth it if ya find it!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

recommended gigs

Thursday April 20 - Thee Swank Bastards, Franks'n'Deans, the Pluralses at the Dive Bar
Thursday April 20 - JonEmery Dodds, Brandon Madejek and the All Togethers at the Rusty Spur

Friday April 21 - the All Togethers and the Tea for Two Variety Review at the Beauty Bar
Friday April 21 - Water Landing with Strike 12, Surface Report and Call Shot at the Double Down

Saturday April 22 - Durango 66 at the Golden Tiki
Saturday April 22 - Assorted Jellybeans and the Maxies, Phenomenauts, Alan Six and lots more at Backstage Bar and Billiards
Saturday April 22 - the Phenomenauts at the March for Science
Saturday April 22 - the All Togethers at Artisan

Sunday April 23 - Battle of the Bands for Life is Beautiful - the Bunkhouse at noon
Sunday April 23 - Girl Haggard at the Pioneer Saloon

Monday April 24 - Thee Swank Bastards with Szandora Lavey at the Golden Tiki AND the Double Down

Wednesday April 26 - Tacacat, Negative Nancys and the Van der Rohe at the Beauty Bar

Thursday April 27 - Goldtop Bob at the San Dollar

Friday April 28 - Le DomiNiki at the Dillinger with Matthew Whaley

Saturday April 29 - The Swamp Gospel and the return of the Gentlemen of Four Outs at the Golden Tiki

Thursday May 4 - 3d6, Water Landing, Dr Phobic, Forget Me Nows at Backstage Bar and Billiards

Saturday May 20 - the Swamp Gospel with the Psyatics and Sin Eaters at the Double Down

Thursday May 25 - Shoen Knife at the Beauty Bar

Friday May 26 - Television and the Weirdos at the Bunkhouse!

Monday June 12 - Heroine, Shawn James, the Psyatics at the Beauty Bar

Sunday June 18 - Guitar Wolf at the Beauty Bar

Friday June 23 - the Peculiar Pretzelmen and the Gentlemen of Four Outs - venue TBA

Saturday July 8 - Blondie and Garbage at the Palms

Wednesday August 2 - the Delta Bombers at the Beauty Bar

Thursday Aug 3 - David Allen Coe at the Dive Bar

Thursday Sept 7 - Sept 10 - Big Blues Bender at the Plaza

What have I forgotten? Lemme know

Thee Swank Bastards, Melanie and the Midnite Marauders, Yosemite Slam and the Bitters at the Beauty Bar, Wednesday April 19, 2017

I do enjoy the occasional mid-week gig and this line-up of friends was a good excuse to get out of the house and let off some steam.

Opening was the Bitters, a wild'n'wacky instrumental three piece consisting of Jeff Murphy on guitar, Vinny Moncada on bass and Frank Klepacki on drums. Each member is fairly exceptional on their instrument and they perform high energy, highly complicated, Zappa-esque, vocal-less tunes that are made to impress. Some were a bit jazzy, in a Mahavishnu Orchestra kinda way, with everyone soloing with skill. Not exactly something you will hum along with, but impressive!



Yosemite Slam's vocalist/stand-up bassist Justin now lives in NYC, so they are not overly active in town (logically), but they made an exception for this gig! The group mixes styles, with guitarist Mitch being a bit more metallic and drummer Ryan keeping it all together, as they run through numbers like "CC Rider" and "Ace of Spades" along with songs about Twin Peaks and railroads. The sound wasn't the best this evening, but they pulled off some fine harmonies and were engaging and entertaining!



Melanie and the Midnite Marauders were up next with our reinterpretation of classic honky-tonk drinkin' tunes and our debut of our new t-shirts (with custom artwork by Jw Caldwell).



(MMM pix by Nikki Ruffling)

Closing the night was Thee Swank Bastards, in the middle of their 19-or-so gig streak in a matter of 2 weeks! Unfortunately, dancer Szandora was wiped out from the gigs that they have already done and couldn't make it, but this gig's line-up of Jesse, Jeff and Turbo ran through their usual set of surf standards and originals, along with covers of Black Sabbath, Slayer and the Dead Kennedys! Jesse can't sit still and was all over the stage, speakers and back patio, while Jeff told rude jokes and played fast-movin' bass runs and Turbo pounded out the powerful back beat. Always a fun time! They have several more shows in this wild run of theirs, so see them before they collapse from exhaustion!





Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Squidhat '77 - A Las Vegas Punk Rock Tribute to 1977

Compilation records can always be an iffy proposition. While a fan of one band will likely find another that they dig, more often than not, there will be tracks that they won't care for at all. But variety is what it is all about and this release gives an inkling as to the variety that is offered in the Las Vegas scene.

Most of the bands here are modern Vegas punk bands, though there are some variations on the theme. Of course, 1977 is the year that punk rock broke, so it was highly influential to most everyone who is playing today. But, covering 1977 punk can be difficult since a lot of groups are using that basic sound to this day. Case in point - the Gashers covering the Sex Pistols - a little snottier (if you can believe it) but basically a stock cover version of "No Feelings". Japan's The Heiz (they play Vegas often enough to almost be considered a local band) pull out an unexpected Shaun Cassidy number, "That's Rock'n'Roll", but are successful with it, as they pull their influences from the 50's through the present and blend it up to make their own sound with anything that they do.

The Civilians do a pretty damn spot-on cover of Thin Lizzy's "Bad Reputation", complete with harmony leads, which is impressive. Considering their expertise with vocal harmonies, it makes sense that Franks and Deans covers ELO's "Turn to Stone" (not the great Joe Walsh number), Guily by Association does a punk rock take on "We Are the Champions" which is funny, the Dammit Jims have the challenging task of covering the Ramones "Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment", which is pretty straight-forward, and the Quitters are equally ambitious as they tackle the immediately identifiable "Lust For Life" and do their best to make it their own.

My pals, the Psyatics picked Pink Floyd's "Pigs", not something that I would expect from them, and not a particularly memorable number to start with. Of course, they twist'n'turn it into a post-punk, staccato, noisey rocker, as they do. New Cold War turn Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" into a heavy metal/grunge tune, which makes it stand out here, the Hard Pipe Hitters' "Sonic Reducer" is a pretty standard take on this much-covered number, and the Negative Nancys add some changes to the Buzzcocks' "Boredom" and Rayner goes for the goofiness of "Margaritaville".

Another ambitious undertaking is the Scoundrels taking on Television's "Friction", but they do it justice - keeping enough of the original but adding their own bits'n'pieces - impressive. The Dirty Panties also do a good job with "Psycho Killer" and the Bloodcocks UK knock it out of the park with an incredible "Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll" (Ian Dury) - since they never play in Vegas (only Japan), I wasn't sure what to expect but this is amazing! Showing off their nerd credentials, the Classifieds do Star Wars' "Imperial March", having never been much of a reggae fan, I didn't recognize Go Bold's punk rock take on Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds" or the Pluralses growling version of Meatloaf's "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad".

Unbelievably, I have yet to see the New Waves, Vegas' instro band that reinvents 80's songs as surf numbers, but their "I Want You To Want Me" is pretty damn cool, Joy Division as thrash punk as Unfair Fight does with "Warsaw" isn't my thing though the Squidhat All Stars doing "Brick House" is pretty amusing, and while the Clash's "1977" is the appropriate closer, the Civilians and Friends stock interpretation doesn't add anything - not bad, but nothing that stands out, either.

As I said, comps can be hit'r'miss, but this is pretty fun overall.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Terrorsaurs and the Swank Bastards at the Motor City Cafe, Thursday April 13, 2017

The Motor City Cafe is the site of the first Swamp Gospel gig ever, so it has a place in my heart, even though is has not been having bands for a while now. Booker/bartendress Layleen is doing her best to remedy that situation starting with this show.

Hailing from the UK, the Terrorsaurs are a (mostly) instrumental band mixing sounds of surf, 60's garage, 70's boogie rock and even funk to create a stylin' sound of their own. Some bits reminded me of my fave LA instro band, the Black Widows, though these cats are a bit more primitive - in a good way! I totally dig the snazzy matching outfits and wacky head-gear, non-stop running around and, of course, the alluring burlesque dancer that added to the visuals, and even engaged in a couple of different costume changes. Super fun all around - glad I was able to catch them!













Vegas' own instro masters, the Swank Bastards were aided this evening by their own burlesque dancer in the hula-hoppin' form of Szandora, in town for a couple of weeks and innumerable gigs! Jesse did not have his trademark Vox guitar for a change, instead using a trusty Dan Electro to get his groovy, reverb-drenched sounds. Backed by drummer Turbo and bassist Jeff Murphy, they rocked through a set of their classics, while runnin' wild throughout the club - more than once there were near-collisions between Jesse and Szandora's hula-hoop! Always a good time - if you leave your house in the next week or so, chances are you will see them somewhere as they have a couple of dozen gigs coming up!











Thanks to Layleen and the Motor City Cafe for sponsoring this one! I hope that the MC can build a regular crowd, as it's a cool set-up with cheap drinks and a full kitchen! Check it out!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

recommended gigs

Thursday April 13 - Thee Swank Bastards with Szandora Lavey and the Terrorsaurs at the Motor City Cafe
Thursday April 13 - Junkyard at the Dive Bar
Thursday April 13 - Video/Movie night at the Double Down with a showing of Mayor of Sunset Strip, the debut of the Psyatics new music video and Exene on the turntables!

Saturday April 15 - Agent Orange (Agent Orange has cancelled, but I think the rest of the gig will go on, but you might call to be sure) with the Psyatics, Civilians and Sheiks of Shake at the Beauty Bar
Saturday April 15 - Thee Swank Bastards with Szandora Lavey at the Golden Tiki (3pm-6pm) AND at the Dillinger (7:30-9:00) AND at Money Plays (10:30 til whenever)

Sunday April 16 - the Unwieldies at Garage-Ma-Hall at 12:00 noon

Monday April 17 - Thee Swank Bastards with Szandora Lavey at the Golden Tiki

Wednesday April 19 - Melanie and the Midnite Marauders and the Swank Bastards, Yosemite Slam and the Bitters at the Beauty Bar

Thursday April 20 - Thee Swank Bastards, Franks'n'Deans, the Pluralses at the Dive Bar
Thursday April 20 - JonEmery Dodds, Brandon Madejek and the All Togethers at the Rusty Spur

Friday April 21 - the All Togethers and the Tea for Two Variety Review at the Beauty Bar

Saturday April 22 - Durango 66 at the Golden Tiki
Saturday April 22 - Assorted Jellybeans and the Maxies, Phenomenauts, Alan Six and lots more at Backstage Bar and Billiards
Saturday April 22 - the Phenomenauts at the March for Science
Saturday April 22 - the All Togethers at Artisan

Sunday April 23 - Battle of the Bands for Life is Beautiful - the Bunkhouse at noon

MOnday April 24 - Thee Swank Bastards with Szandora Lavey at the Golden Tiki AND the Double Down

Wednesday April 26 - Tacacat, Negative Nancys and the Van der Rohe at the Beauty Bar

Thursday April 27 - Goldtop Bob at the San Dollar

Saturday April 29 - The Swamp Gospel and the return of the Gentlemen of Four Outs at the Golden Tiki

Thursday May 4 - 3d6, Water Landing, Dr Phobic, Forget Me Nows at Backstage Bar and Billiards

Saturday May 20 - the Swamp Gospel with the Psyatics and Sin Eaters at the Double Down

Thursday May 25 - Shoen Knife at the Beauty Bar

Friday May 26 - Television and the Weirdos at the Bunkhouse!

Sunday June 18 - Guitar Wolf at the Beauty Bar

Saturday July 8 - Blondie and Garbage at the Palms

Wednesday August 2 - the Delta Bombers at the Beauty Bar

Thursday Sept 7 - Sept 10 - Big Blues Bender at the Plaza

What have I forgotten? Lemme know

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

RIP J. Geils


Guitarist known as J. Geils found dead in Massachusetts home
 ---
Damn, this breaks my heart - the J. Geils Band is one of my all-time faves - and one of the best lives shows I've ever seen. So f'k'in' sad...

Monday, April 10, 2017

Big Lazy with the Sin Eaters - Backstage Bar and Billiards, Sunday April 9, 2017


I was planning on hitting this happenin' simply because the Sin Eaters were playing and when I found out about Big Lazy (who I was not familiar with previously), I made the extra effort to get downtown for the big event.

The Sin Eaters are the latest incarnation of the blues-blastin' Lucky Cheats, now with the cool-cat, stand-up bassist Chris Davis backing drummer extraordinaire Larry Reha, guitar wiz Wade Braggs and harp master Jeffrey Koenig. This was only their second show, but since everyone has worked together in some form or another in the past, they are already a dynamite machine, ready to take over the town. They are mostly doing covers these days - they just haven't had the time to write new material - but their interpretations are entertaining as hell and filled with damn fine playing! They tackle "Skinny Woman", "King Bee" (a really different take on it propelled by poundin' drums), "I Don't Owe You a Thing", with super heavy, over-driven guitar, "You Don't Love Me", "Shake Your Hips" (a dynamic, building jam with Wade singing), Little Richard's "Leaving in the Morning" (kinda like "I Put a Spell on You" with guitar/harp duets, quiet parts, Jeffrey playing harp just through the vocal mic for a change, "Can I Spend the Night With You" (another Wade vocal) and a lap steel workout of "Rollin'n'Tumblin'". Damn fine, super-fun band and some of the best players in town!








Our host, Brian Moy, being MC, as well as promoter:


Big Lazy's Stephen Ulrich currently does sound track work for HBO, as well as fronting this jazzy, film-noir-ish three piece. Backed by a fairly exceptional stand-up bassist (who would sometimes bow the bass to great effect) and DJ Bonebrake-ish drummer, Stephen uses odd tunings on his odd guitars (a cool old Mosrite, Gretsch, and something I didn't recognize), employs tasteful usages of tremelo, reverb, echo and dynamics, and combines jazzy sounds, chicken-pickin', bluesy licks, slide guitar, tuneful lap steel and lots more for his unique sound. Originals like "Avenue X", "Dream Factory" and "Princess Nicotine", combine with covers like John Lennon's "Girl" (where the bowed bass gave a tuba-like percussion and they all joined in for a heavily dynamic bridge) to fill out the set with moody, instro goodness. Being a work night, I split before the very end (even though it purposefully was an early show), but I thoroughly enjoyed the group and thought they were truly compelling live and much more engaging than the studio work that I had heard. Well worth checking out and I hope that they return to Vegas!








Once again a big thanks to Brian Moy for promoting another great gig and thanks to the Triple B for hosting the night.